Deus Ex Machina - Beginnings 1/2
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Prodding the sleeping beast is never a grand idea.


A/N: Yes, it's been a long time coming, but writer's block is hard to overcome, trust me! Anyhow, enjoy, and tell me what you think. Remember, comments make the second half come faster!

Don't forget to read the prologue!

Part 2 is now up!


'So, who d'ya think built this glorified tugboat?' Jayne asked, as he used his torch to illuminate the corridor him, Simon and Kaylee were travelling down. 'I mean,' He went on, 'I don't know about you, but I think it's aliens.' Jayne paused for a second before adding, 'Aliens with big damn guns.'

Simon rolled his eyes at Jayne's remarks, and Kaylee stifled a giggle at his expression. Unfortunately, as outlandish as Jayne's remarks were, Simon had to admit that the brute had a point. The biggest ships the Alliance had were their Cruisers, and those were at most approximately a third the size of the ship they were currently in. Noticing Kaylee's giggle, Jayne continued, 'What? You think the ruttin' Alliance built this?'

'Who knows?' Kaylee asked, giving Simon one of her frequent visual once-overs. 'They made River into a reader, didn't they?' Jayne gave a short laugh, the type used by large men who know as a fact that the speaker is horribly wrong.

'Naw, Kaylee, you can hide a little moonbrained psychopath of a girl, no problem.' If looks could kill, Jayne would be in several small and unidentifiable pieces, with Simon standing over him, whistling an innocent little ditty. 'It ain't half as easy to hide a mile of spaceship.'

'They hid Miranda well enough.' Kaylee said, shivering as the memories of that fateful day ran through her head. Noticing how she reacted, Simon quietly walked over and gave her hand a squeeze, resulting in a grateful smile from the mechanic.

Never missing a beat, Simon corrected Jayne, saying, 'It's a kilometre, not a mile. Miles are longer.' The mercenary gave a short grunt, displaying his apparent lack of an ability to care.

'Pokato, pokato.'

'It's potato, potato.'



'Meanwhile, back on the ranch, Captain Malcolm Reynolds attempts to patch a cortex feed through from Serenity to the titanic vessel in order to access its computer mainframe. Currently, he is shifting through wires beneath the pilot's console, having already suffered three-'


'Scratch that, four, electric shocks.' The aforementioned Captain pushed himself out from under the similarly aforementioned pilot's console to confront his pilot-in-training and resident psychic.

'River, would ya stop doin' that? Please?' The teenage assassin made a face, and continued to observe Mal without a running commentary. She cocked her head, striking a pose oddly reminiscent of a confused bird.

'What are you doing?' She asked.

'You tell me.' Another face.

'No fun in knowing everything, good to ask sometimes.'

'You know,' Mal said, sounding rather pleased with himself, 'I think actually understood that.' He continued, 'If you must know, I'm trying to find out what's meddling with the circuit board. If I can do that, I can get the cortex working, and if I can do that, I might be able to find something to tell me what's worth taking that that there ship.' He pushed away a few wires, and something pink and frilly fell onto his face. Shouting in surprise, he dodged out from under the console, brushing the object off of him as if it were a spider. River gazed down at the item, and gave a knowing smile to her Captain.

'One of Kaylee's.' She remarked. Mal groaned as he realised what it was. A bright pink bra. With frilly edges.

'I really did not need to know that.' She flashed a sweet and innocent smile his way.

'Captain Daddy doesn't approve?' River asked.

'Of them in here? Not a chance.' She shook her head sadly.

'Not in here. Of them.' Mal's brow creased as he pondered the question.

'You're asking me whether I approve of your brother-' He sought for the correct word, for once seeing the absorbent mind of a young girl and not the government-modified thought-plucker. He eventually settled for 'Being with lil' Kaylee?' She nodded slowly, as if she were encouraging a young child. 'Gotta be honest with you, I'm not entirely sure what my opinion towards them two is. I mean,' He went on, 'it's kinda sweet, I'll admit, them two finally findin' happiness and all that, but other times, for example, when they tend to stray outside the bedroom for their evening activities,' At this, Mal indicated the offending garment, lying between them on the floor, 'I ain't exactly doin' my happy dance.' The was silence as River analysed the difference between what Mal told her and what he actually thought. Buried deep within was a twinge of jealousy, one he'd kept in check all the way through her brother's relationship with Kaylee.


Mal turned at the sound, recognising it as the recognition the cortex gave when it came online. He sat down at the pilot's console and typed the command which would allow him to access the ship's mainframe. There was a pause of a few seconds as Serenity recognised his wishes and proceeded to follow them through.

System error. SA-Protocol enacted. System restart required.

Not to worry, easily done.

Mal scanned the UI the other ship had presented him with, after a minute finding what he was looking for. He hit the button marked Restart.

Nothing happened for a while.

Nothing continued to happen for five minutes, when at last a message popped up onscreen.

Connection error. Remote system restart denied. Please contact your network supervisor if problems continue.

Mal stared at the message, at a loss at what to do. He was adrift in space, and the closest thing he had to a technician was currently making her way towards what had been clearly marked on several maps dotted around the small area him and Zoë had looked over as Engineering, lover and gunman in tow. His problems were solved, however, when River leant over his shoulder and hit the down key. The message scrolled down, revealing the rest.

If possible, attempt a manual restart at source.

River pressed the word source, and a new window popped up, displaying lines of mostly illegible data. However, a few lines had apparently caught her eye, and she happily pointed them out to Mal. He leaned in close, attempting to discern her information from the rest.

Frame ID: 01923-78612-ATLAS Source: I.S.V. Icarus/Bridge

'The bridge, huh?' He said to no one in particular. 'And how do you suppose we get there?'

'Cartography, silly.' She told him.

'Oh, right.' Mal pushed himself up from the seat, strode towards the door, slipped on Kaylee's bra, and collided face-first with the floor.


'What d'ya think they've got locked up down there?' Jayne asked.

'Might be anything.' Simon replied, giving the generic response.

'Might be gold. Might be treasure.' His face lit up. 'Might be guns.'

'As I said, there might be anything.' Simon reiterated.

Jayne sneered at him as he went on, 'Might be some sex toys, help you actually satisfy Kaylee for once.'

'Jayne!' Simon and Kaylee shouted at once.

Jayne let loose a snort of laughter, before adding, 'Hell, it's a lost cause anyhow.' Simon glared at him. He'd gotten used to Jayne's comments, and they were in fact dying out. However, the oaf did on occasion think of some way to actually annoy him.

Kaylee walked over to Simon and linked her arm with his, kissed him softly on the cheek and said, 'Oh, ignore him, honey. Ya know he only says that stuff to get you all riled up.' Simon sighed, glancing back at Jayne and seeing him leering at them both.

'I know, bao bei. But,' he asked, 'how do you manage not to let it annoy you?' Kaylee gave one of her signature laughs and settled her head down onto his shoulder.

'When you've been with him for so long, ya just learn to blank them out.'

'Hmm.' Simon replied, enjoying the feeling of her head against his shoulder. He took his arm out of hers and preceded to wrap it around her waist, pulling her against him. If she was surprised by the move, she didn't show it, Kaylee merely followed suit, wrapping her own arm around him. Kaylee looked up into his eyes, and they became lost in their little world, until Jayne cleared his throat in a way bereft of all subtlety.

'Ahem.' He said for added measure. The couple turned their heads towards him as he invaded upon their little moment. 'I believe this is why Mal put me here with you. Stop you two deflowerin' a perfectly good ship.' They both blushed at this, mostly because Jayne had used his oh-so-tactful way to relay this information, but partly because it was true. Since Miranda, the two of them had been inseparable, mornings, afternoons, and evenings, much to the annoyance of their Captain. And Jayne. And, in some ways, Inara. And River. But mostly Mal. And Jayne.

The procession stopped as the three reached what appeared to be an elevator. Jayne traced the trail on his PDA, and sure enough, it went through the elevator, about 46 floors down, and veered off horizontally once more. Jayne reached for his radio and began to speak into it.



‘We’d be wantin’ the ship to be online now, Mal.’

‘Hold on, the ship’s runnin’ some diagnostic program, be online…now!’ A humming built up around them, the sound of a ship in working order. With a pneumatic hiss, the elevator doors opened, and Jayne, Kaylee, and Simon all stepped in.



Maintenance log – UNKNOWN TIME/DATE/AREA.

Full system restart achieved.

Suspended animation deactivated.

Robotics control reestablished.

Primary AI(LOTUS-AI17802) confirmed and working at optimal efficiency.

Have a nice day.



What do you think? Christ be damned, tell me!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006 9:36 AM


>'Might be gold. Might be treasure.' His face lit up. 'Might be guns.'

Bwahahaa! Ahh, good old Jayne. Nice characterization of him. Near perfect I'd say. No wonder he has to stick with whores. Incapable as he is of caring about anything but himself.

The exchanges were nicely done and finding Kaylee's bra made me giggle.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 9:46 AM


"'Oh, right.' Mal pushed himself up from the seat, strode towards the door, slipped on Kaylee's bra, and collided face-first with the floor."

Bwhahahaha. Classic moment :D.

Nice going on this. And waking something up from Suspended animation sounds happy and cheerful ;)

Can't wait for more :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 10:10 AM


Suspense-y! More, dammit!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 5:57 PM


I wonder if River can sympathize with Jack & co., since she knows what it feels like to be in cryo;)

Must say...this reboot of your earlier work is a definite magnitude or so easier to read, though the original start was pretty dang cool;)


Wednesday, July 19, 2006 2:28 AM


hey good one brain its good to konw that river is up to her old self pulling pranks on the crew its really good i quite enjoyed reading that thanks brain i hope there is more comin.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 2:28 AM


Intresting concept, i take it there will be robots, if my latin serves true, a legion perhaps?
looks intresting Brian.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 5:33 AM


This story is building up nicely! I'm getting really curious about the purpose and origin of the ship.

The 'pink bra scene' made me chuckle. The character voices are well written, and there were a few good exchanges.

The following piece of dialogue made me smile:

Jayne:'I don't know about you, but I think it's aliens.' Jayne paused for a second before adding, 'Aliens with big damn guns.'

Keep up the supershiny work Brain. I'm really interested to see where this one is heading. This is a great, suspenseful story!

- Cos.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 1:31 AM


'I don't know about you, but I think it's aliens.' Jayne paused for a second before adding, 'Aliens with big damn guns.'
I really hope Jayne is wrong, and that there are no aliens in this story at all, or I will be sorely disappointed.

If looks could kill, Jayne would be in several small and unidentifiable pieces, with Simon standing over him, whistling an innocent little ditty.
-Excellent line.

Mal knowing circuits and mainframe interaction is an, uh, interesting development.

*Connection error. Remote system restart denied. Please contact your network supervisor if problems continue.*
-Sounds like some versions of Windows to me.


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Everything always looks better in hindsight.

The Endgame Scenario - Prologue
The year is 2525 - and the world is ending.

Domain - Prologue
A non-Firefly idea I've had for ages, and recently decided to pen. It's set in London several hundred years after a nuclear war.

Mal and Jayne have a little discussion on the principals of life, birth, and feminine conspiracy. One-shot.

Remembrance: The Metal Man
Beware the iron giant.

Remembrance: From the top
Every journey has to start somewhere.

Remembrance: Foreword
This is the beginning of a story, a story that changed the universe.

I see them.
Boredom breeds. 'Nuff said. That, and this is a Post-BDM River train of thought.

Deus Ex Machina - Flipside
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

Deus Ex Machina - Beginnings 2/2
One man's good idea leads to another's fall.